Policy Update

Landmark Legislation: California’s Water-Energy Nexus Voluntary Registry Encourages Water Efficiency and Emissions Reductions



NCEL Point of Contact

Ava Gallo
Climate and Energy Program Manager


In 2016, California enacted Senate Bill 1425, sponsored by former Senator Fran Pavley, which encourages businesses to measure and ultimately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions resulting from water-based energy use. SB 1425 builds off of California’s 2000 Climate Action Registry, a first-of-its-kind registry in which businesses voluntarily participate to track their emissions, establish baselines to measure their progress, and take voluntary actions to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions overall. Senator Pavley’s 2016 bill, the Water-Energy Nexus Registry, takes this one step further by creating a similar registry for businesses seeking to reduce their water-based emissions.

Water usage is not often thought of in the context of energy. However, in a drought-ridden state like California, the transportation and treatment of water make up nearly 20% of the state’s energy usage. Senator Pavley’s innovative bill sets a new precedent for holding utilities accountable while also gathering new information on water’s impact on energy usage.

SB 1425 is the newest addition to NCEL and the USC Schwarzenegger Institute’s Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook and provides an innovative example of ways states can encourage water efficiency and curb emissions.